Fewer customers, fewer sales, decreased revenue streams. These conditions are familiar to virtually all CEOs and small business owners during this time of crisis. While some might argue that engagement in marketing activities during a slowdown is unwise, plenty of other marketing experts contend that this is the right time to maintain those activities and remind customers that your business is out there and ready to help.
If you’re contemplating how to bolster your marketing efforts, here are tips to keep in mind:
Know who your prospective customers are.
It’s not true that people stop purchasing products and services in a period of lessened economic growth. They just go about it in different ways. According to the marketing agency Element Three, buyers fit in four broad categories:
- Those who stop making all non-essential purchases
- Those who cut back on purchases, but to a lesser degree
- Those who consider themselves unaffected by “the immediate tightening of the global economy”
- Those who act as though no slowdown is taking place
In determining which group best describes your target audience, it’s vital to understand “where your offer sits among this group,” as Element Three puts it, and to decide where “your product or service lies along a spectrum from essential to non-essential.”
Craft a marketing message that “speaks to the moment.”
Consumers understand we’re living through extraordinary times. Conventional marketing messages that don’t address this situation are unlikely to resonate or cut through the noise of everyday life.
Instead, a marketing message that acknowledges our challenging times will likely resonate more with prospective buyers.
“Home, comfort, safety, reliability, online communications and essential products are in,” notes Business.com. To succeed, a company’s marketing efforts “need to reflect your empathy for the moment, and speak to safety, reliability, value, discounts and lower prices.”
Remind your audience you’re still out there.
Thanks to social media and other digital resources, it’s easy to stay in touch with your current customer base—and to continue reaching out to potential new customers.
More than ever, this is the time to be highly visible on the big social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). Continue providing valuable “how to” content that addresses the needs of your audience. Engage with followers on other industry-related sites. Keep your business website rich with fresh articles and blog posts that offer value and that customers can share with others in their own networks.
Take a grassroots approach.
The challenges we face also offer an opportunity to return to grassroots marketing – that is, “marketing to a small group in the effort that they will spread your message to a much larger audience,” as Business2Community notes. One suggestion? Secure a community speaking gig or sponsor a value-rich webinar, so you can “get people excited about your business and keep it at the forefront of their minds.”
This can help by encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations and will also serve to boost awareness when better economic times return.
If there’s a plus-side to the current business landscape, it’s that you and your marketing team have the opportunity to exercise more creativity in your marketing efforts. What new ways can you reach out to beleaguered customers and spur more interest in your products or services?
According to Forbes, you might look to “promote unique offerings, like DIY kits and care packages” to draw in new customers, or “offer virtual options … like online classes, meetings, and showcases.” Brainstorm with your team about new and different ways to attract interest and entice prospective customers to take a closer look at your business.